New York, NY - What is it like to photograph the forgotten people and their crafts? Dan Bannister, a noted still and motion photographer, knows the answers after he stumbled upon the old art of blacksmiths. He was also surprised to meet the people who still carry on the pre-industrial trade with as much passion and devotion as it today deserves. The result can be seen in a new portfolio of black-and-white photographs released by Dan on his website.
For the last couple of years, Dan has painstakingly played with every angle to capture dirt and old hands, along with keys, locks and other metallic objects created by hand. The blacksmiths no longer sit in the street shops, but they are still present in this world, and Dan’s new project gallery shows a revealing glimpse into their craft and lives.
Video Link: http://player.vimeo.com/video/129811628
“This project is relevant because it's really about craftsmanship and the death of small scale manufacturing in North America,” says Dan.
Dan has observed off-shoring and globalization, and the related shift of manufacturing activities to outside North America for some time. This is especially the case with small craft manufacturers and local businesses, who have disappeared at an alarming rate in the last decade. For lovers of this craft, finding a local manufacturer is more difficult than ever. Globalization runs on the back of greater profits, job losses and the resulting disappearance of trades like blacksmithing.
Dan’s brush with the project happened while with a friend in Toronto, who enjoyed blacksmithing as a hobby. Keen to meet actual practitioners of this craft, Dan finally met Lloyd Johnston, who lists among his achievements the historically accurate restoration of the iron gates on Canada’s Parliament Buildings. After meeting other blacksmiths and simultaneously capturing photographs, Dan went on to make a documentary on Lloyd working in his shop, which is now available to watch on Vimeo.
“This project has received an incredible amount of interest and feedback because the idea of small manufacturing is so important to the evolution of North America. I wish to expand the work a bit more to include small scale craftspeople who still manufacture things for retail consumers in a sustainable way,” says Dan.
For more information, please visit: https://www.danbannister.com/personal/blacksmiths/thumbs and https://vimeo.com/129811628